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Melbourne bomber Levon Demirian Was a Key Suspect in Sarik Ariyak and Engin Sever Killing.

Under extensive surveillance, Demirian managed to run his affairs and organise the bombing of the Turkish Consulate General.


Demirian, who served 10 years in jail for his role in the bombing of Turkish Consulate General in Melbourne in 1986, had been on ASIO's radar as a chief suspect in the killing of Sarik Ariyak and Engin Sever as early as 1981.


Surveillance pictures of ASIO from Demirian's arrival to Australia ahead of Melbourne bombing.

At the time of the assassination of Sarik Ariyak and Engin Sever on 17 December 1980, Demirian became a suspect for a number of reasons.

Firstly, his physical similarity to one of the assassins was worthy of paying attention for the security agencies. The killers of Ariyak had been described as following in one of the ASIO briefs:

Offender 1: Male, 168cm, 5'6 tall, wearing full face helmet, grey knee length dust coat, fawn trousers, possibly spectacles under helmet.
Offender 2: Male, 175, 5'9 tall, wearing full face white helmet, dressed in navy blue, possibly combination overalls, with heavy brass chain across left shoulder and chest.

Demirian, on the other hand "is 5'10 tall, has flat curly hair and wears glasses," according to a description of him dated 13 July 1983.


Demirian's dedication to "Armenian causes", according to security agencies assessments, was also notable.

Demirian in November 1980, organised a demonstration against the French Consulate General in Sydney to protest against the arrest of Max Klindjian in Marseilles in February 1980. Klindjian had been arrested in suspicion of the failed attack on the Turkish ambassador in Bern, Dogan Turkmen. Demirian was the "convenor of the Armenian National Committee", which organised that protest. He was also the coordinator of all various Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnag) organisations in Sydney and all new membership applications had been submitted to him, before he forwarded them to the central committee, according to ASIO files.


Dashnag Network of Organisations in Australia (1980)

Lastly, Demirian had travelled to Lebanon prior to the assassination in 1980. The Dashnag leadership as well as the leaders of JCAG were believed to be in Beirut during Levon's travel to the country. He was absent between 16 August 1980 and 13 October 1980. Some of the other suspected JCAG members from the United States and Australia had also attended a Dashnag youth camp in France in late August 1980.

After the terror attack, which killed Sarik Ariyak and Engin Sever on 17 December 1980, Levon Demirian had left Australia on 19 April 1981, and on his return to the country on 10 June 1981 he was subject to through searches by the border security. This attention at the border made Demirian "agitated", according to agent notes. On 28 June 1981, he had left Australia for a "four month" holiday in Lebanon, never to be seen again, until QF002 brought him and his new family back to Sydney on 26 July 1985.



Who is Demirian?


He was born on 6 September 1952, in Bitias, Zahle, Lebanon according to the translated Certificate of Marriage issued for his marriage on 21 August 1983 in Bourj-Hommoud, Lebanon. According to his Australian passport, his birthday is 5 September 1952. He must have turned 70 this year.

Demirian's parents migrated to Australia in 1970 from Lebanon, with the rest of the family arriving in 1971. According to records, he has five brothers, and a sister.

While two of his brothers came under security forces' attention, a wiretap record of a chat between her mother and one of his friends reveal the deeply rooted anti-Turkish sentiment in the family.

ASIO records from 28 July 1983 captures Levon's mother grieving for the unsuccessful terrorist plot to kill Turks in Turkish embassy, which resulted in five Armenian terrorists, known as Lisbon Five, getting killed in Lisbon, Portugal.

On the records, Levon's mother first shows some compassion for the mothers of those who were killed during the attack and says: "The overseas news and loss of those boys has saddened me. After all those boys all have mothers."

Transcription of the call then reads her saying:

"At least if they had achieved something by dying...If only they had blown up the damn Turks."

Security agencies were closely watching the suspected JCAG members in Australia including Silva and Seta Donelian, Krikor Keverian, and Sarkis Yedelian.



On 12 July 1983, during a random customs search officers have found a number of weapons and ammunition in the luggage of Krikor Keverian travelling from Los Angeles to Australia.


Weapons Found in Possession of Keverian

On 14 July 1983, another Armenian, Agaop Magarditch who had just returned to Australia from the USA where he lived since 1979, reported to police a massive shipment of arms destined for him.


On 15 July 1983, Demirian was due to arrive back in Australia, earlier than expected, because something "had been brought forward." according to a cabinet memorandum by ASIO to the National Intelligence Sub-Committee.


Following the seizure this travel had been cancelled.


On 26 July, police searched the shipment that arrived and had found machine guns, hand guns, ammunition, handcuffs and books about assassinations and identity disguising techniques.

Coincidentally or not, on 27 July, the siege of the Turkish embassy by Armenian terrorists resulted in chaos and the killing of a diplomat's wife and a Portuguese security guard.

Australian security agencies' assessment was that a similar "sensational attack" had also been planned here in Australia by Dashnag youth.


What documents also unveil is that Demirian, following the cancellation of his trip to Australia, got married to his fiancé on 17 August 1983.

As off, 1 May 1985, Levon, Hovannes and Haroutian Demirian brothers were all in security interests, with agents having enough evidence to suspect, the mother, Osvana, known as "Aunty Selma" was also playing some role in carrying information in between different members of the JCAG cell in Australia.


TO BE CONTINUED: How did security agencies miss Levon Demirian and Hagop Levonian's plot to bomb the Turkish Consulate General in Melboure despite such close watch and attention?


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